My post below generated some great discussion, not on Women and the Church (the title of the post) but on pastoral care (or the lack thereof) in catastrophic life situations. My friend Mary Potts, eloquent as always, relates her family's devastating non-experience of parish care as their daughter fought back against cancer and then died during her high school years.
I've kinda mentioned it before: people prefer to DO rather than to BE. People (how gross a generalization can I make?) prefer to prepare meals, do your laundry, organize events, drive you places, accompany you to treatments ~ ANYTHING! rather than stopping by to offer their desperately longed for prayerful and companionable presence.
This includes hospital chaplains, who often choose stopping by to offer the Eucharist or a quick out-loud prayer over settling in for a lengthier period of listening and silence.
Some days I'm an enthusiastic proponent of CPE (clinical pastoral education) programs, and some days I'm not. In my denomination, most presbyteries, mine included, require them for ordination, so I've done a summer program - 400 hours (which I, personally, loved). Some programs emphasize the psychological over the spiritual, and the social work nature of pastoral care over the Biblical and theological dimensions, but I will say this: The good ones can accomplish a great deal in terms of furthering pastoral comfort in being present to those in crisis.
I suppose that I could write reams on this subject, but first: what say you?